Western Hemisphere Nations Face Threats in Common

Western Hemisphere Nations Face Threats in Common

By Dialogo
October 17, 2012

Nations of the Western Hemisphere are a family sharing many of the same threats that confront them across borders and oceans, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said in Uruguay on October 8.

Panetta spoke at the plenary session of the 10th Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas. The themes of the conference include defense and security, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The secretary called these themes a central part of efforts to enhance regional security and increase cooperation between military forces in the hemisphere.

“Over the last two decades, our people, our economies, our cultures and our values have become even more connected, not just because we are neighbors, but because we are one family in this hemisphere,” Panetta told participants from many nations.

Last week, Panetta released the Western Hemisphere Defense Policy Statement, a framework for implementing the new U.S. defense strategy across Latin America.

In the Western Hemisphere, according to the new policy, the United States will reinvigorate its defense partnerships and pursue new ones, consistent with President Barack Obama’s approach to the region, the secretary said.

The statement’s three objectives include promoting the following:

- Strong national government institutions that allow all nations in the region to address legitimate threats to the state and their citizens.

- Shared action against shared threats through more effectively and efficiently coordinating defense forces.

- Multilateral mechanisms and institutions, like the current conference and the Inter-American Defense Board, to achieve consensus on the direction of hemispheric defense collaboration.

On humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the United States supports the Chilean initiative to accelerate and coordinate support for civilian-led relief efforts, Panetta said.

On peacekeeping, countries in the Western Hemisphere have assumed an impressive leadership role by engaging, addressing and improving United Nations peacekeeping, Panetta said.

In a new era of defense cooperation in the hemisphere, Panetta said, “Our goal is to work with those nations that want us to help them to develop their capabilities so that they can defend and secure themselves. Our interest is to work with you, not against you.”

*Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service

Very good, the peace of LORD JESUS